I may or may not have written about The Baseball Project before. It’s a supergroup of sorts led by R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, which only performs songs that are baseball related. Last night they played in Austin, and this blog post about it in Rolling Stone pretty much hits the nail on the head. On the bald, old, pasty head:
The audience seeing the Baseball Project on 5th Street in Austin midnight Wednesday definitely included a significant quotient of balding older white men up past their bedtimes. Whether this is because they were aging fans of R.E.M. and Dream Syndicate (whose Peter Buck and Steve Wynn form the band’s core), aging fans of baseball (the sport that provides all of the band’s subject matter), or just plain Nuvola regulars (perhaps ones sticking around after seeing three earlier bands from Spain), was not entirely clear. But it was appropriate, given that this is as much a band about past glories as about the national pasttime, per se …
That kind of hurts. Hurts almost as much as my wife coming home from Starbucks yesterday after being given a free iTunes download of the latest R.E.M. song. She put it down on my desk and said “here’s a free song from that old lame-ass band you like.” I had better not tell her about the existence of The Baseball Project.
Oh well, beats The Football Project. They’re on hiatus right now and who knows when they’ll be back?
The Royals are in agreement with right-handed reliever Drew Storen on a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the deal is worth $1.25 million if the veteran righty breaks camp with the club this spring. Additional, albeit unspecified incentives will be included in the contract as well.
Storen, 31, is coming off of a protracted absence from any MLB duties. After inking a one-year deal with the Reds in 2017, he sustained a right elbow sprain toward the end of the year and underwent Tommy John surgery that October. He was effectively decommissioned for the club’s entire 2018 run and generated little interest around the league this winter, perhaps due in part to the uninspired 4.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 7.9 SO/9, and career-low -0.2 fWAR he posted across 54 2/3 innings during his last healthy season.
While it’s not immediately clear what kind of performance the Royals can expect from Storen in spring training, they’re not exactly in a position to be choosy. Their bullpen ranked dead last among all MLB teams with a collective 5.04 ERA, 4.85 FIP, and -2.2 fWAR last year, and still appears to be in a state of flux as they approach Opening Day. Skipper Ned Yost told reporters Wednesday that he intends to eschew the traditional closer appointment in 2019 and will instead utilize a combination of right-handers Wily Peralta and Brad Boxberger, lefty Tim Hill, and various others as he tackles high-leverage situations in the future.